DOI: 10.2174/2210676613666230901143229 ISSN:

Review of the Efficacy and Safety Of Cannabidiol with a Focus on Children and Adolescents in the Treatment of Psychiatric Symptoms and Disorders

Amanda Sun, Aimee Sullivan, Jarrod Leffler, Christopher Hammond, Leslie Hulvershorn, Leslie Miller
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a plant-derived cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants with broad psychopharmacologic effects and poorly understood mechanisms of action that may include anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and CNS modulation of endocannabinoid, glutamatergic, and serotonergic neurotransmission. This article reviews existing data on the safety and efficacy of CBD for mental and physical health indications in the pediatric population and for psychiatric disorders in adults, with a focus on clinical trials. Searches of PubMed and PsycINFO for articles through October 2021 focused on clinical trials on “cannabidiol” and “seizure” or “psychiatry” in youth and adults, identifying 686 articles that were then screened and evaluated for relevance. Research into the safety and efficacy of CBD led to the United States Food and Drug Administration's approval of Epidolex, a purified pharmaceutical-grade CBD medicine, for treating drug-resistant seizures in Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex. Beyond treatment for rare seizure disorders, CBD has received growing public interest in recent years as a “natural” treatment for various other medical and psychiatric conditions, resulting in a rapidly expanding multi-billion-dollar US market for CBD dietary/health supplements and a growing number of Americans reporting regular use. However, the growing demand and broad claims of purported benefits have greatly outpaced the body of literature substantiating its use. Further, limited safety data in pediatric populations, drug-to-drug interactions between CBD and prescribed medications, and issues related to mislabeling and contamination have blunted enthusiasm for CBD in the pediatric healthcare community and indicate a need for additional research.

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